Our Mind's Attention

What is given attention in our mind is the most important thing.
Where is your attention right now? Is it on these words? Is it to your day ahead? The thing you saw in your newsfeed?  Attention is critical. It is the ability to focus on what is relevant and block out the rest. Dr. Henry Cloud in his book “Boundaries for  Leaders” says, “When we pay attention to something, repeatedly, the necessary wiring is formed that makes it possible to learn new things, take the right actions and achieve our...

goals.” 

Mandy Croninger, staff member at CedarCreek, shares how having her attention on hearing Scripture put to music has helped her well into her adult life.  As a child growing up we always listened to stories called ‘GT and the Halo Express’ when we were riding in the car. I absolutely loved the stories; they were fun and exciting! Little did I know the impact those tapes would have on my life and my brother’s life, forever. The tapes were stories about adventures these children went, or circumstances they faced. Throughout the stories, perfectly woven in, would be scripture verses put to song. Growing up I didn’t really think much of it. I just loved the stories and singing along with the songs. Now I see the great need to know God’s Word and to have it “hidden in your heart”. I thought I was just singing and playing, having no idea the way those songs were putting Scripture directly into my life. Over and over again as an adult, when things aren’t easy or I’m struggling with a choice to make or the words to say to help someone on their journey, Scripture will come to me because of those songs—nevermind the fact that I have to stop myself from singing the Scripture! I am so thankful that as a child God’s Word, His love story to me, was put in my heart. There is nothing better than having God speak to you through Scripture that is already hidden in your heart as a song.”

READ and THINK… What does the Bible say?
The ancient pagan world had different gods for different peoples, different geographical areas, different cosmic regions (heaven, earth, netherworld) and different aspects of life (war, fertility, crafts), but the God of Israel is the only God. He is the one true God, and there is no corner of the universe that is not in His hands.

Question: 
What reason does this verse provide for giving our songs and praise to God?

Psalm 95:1 (New Living Translation)
Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

Answer:
Imagine how your thoughts would be changed if you had songs about God’s love, grace, justice and mercy repeating in your mind throughout the day instead of lyrics that are not beneficial. 

Question: 
What does this verse say thinking about God’s instruction throughout the day do for you?

Psalm 119:97-98 (New Living Translation)
97 Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.

Answer:
LIVE… What will you do now?
Attention is the ability to focus on what is relevant and block out the rest. Where is your attention spent most days? Is it on what you would consider the most relevant and important things? Why or why not?

Our brain has three main higher processes: 1) attention (ability to focus on what’s relevant), 2) inhibition (ability to filter out what’s not important), and 3) working memory (ability to retain and access relevant information). As Mandy’s story illustrated, the more we hear something the more it becomes a part of our working memory. Is your working memory filled with God’s truth to draw your attention to? If no, what steps can you take to build your “storehouse” to be God’s Word? If it already is, in what way do you think this could make you uniquely positioned to help others give their full attention to God?

When you have lyrics in your head that proclaim the characteristics of God, it reinforces Scripture. How does what we intellectually know about God and His character affect our worship of Him?

PRAY… God, what do you want me to know and do?
Praise God for music! Ask God to help you focus your mind’s attention on His Word. Ask Him to help you find ways to build your “working memory storehouse” with praise songs and Scripture. Make a commitment to Him to memorize one of the Psalms from today or one of your choice.

Digging Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:
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Thank you for reading today’s LivingItOut! We encourage you to take it one step further by participating in a Daily Bible Reading plan. There are thousands of individual reading plans available and there is ONE that is just right for you!CLICK HERE to download a basic “Bible in a year” plan. Customizable reading plans available at Youversion.com or Biblegateway.com.
Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

I'm Jan and I'm happy you stopped in. Please, leave a comment and follow along..

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Jan. Our mind is it! The battle field.
    This generation is SO DISTRACTED, with social media and over-stimulation, yet we wonder how anxiety has increased now plaguing elementary school children too.
    I like to read God's Word out loud. So powerful and soothing.
    Was good catching up today. Must try that sesame chicken recipe soon.
    Love and blessings.
    xoxo

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